The Record-Review – The official newspaper of Bedford and Pound Ridge, New York


JuLY 15, 2011

Bedford’s great home energy experiment

Bedford’s town administration, with the key assistance of motivated residents and volunteers, has made itself something of a model of sustainability policy. While in certain areas — recycling, bike lanes and green public transit — we may not yet be as far along as we might hope; in others, we are regional and in some cases even national leaders.

The town boasts the forward-thinking Bedford 2020 coalition, with the mission to lead, organize and promote a communitywide effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 20 percent by 2020 and to create a sustainable community that conserves its natural resources. There are the boards and commissions that manage environmental impact on wetlands, steep slopes and sensitive areas. Environmentally-conscious citizens have helped turned attention to such important matters as open space preservation, viewsheds and dark skies. And there may be more local agriculture in Bedford than in any suburb in America.

One of the town’s initiatives is the Energize Bedford program, which describes itself as enlisting “a cross-section of resources to advance a self-sustaining effort to promote residential energy efficiency through Home Performance with Energy Star assessments and upgrades, first in the pilot Town of Bedford and ultimately throughout 14 northern Westchester communities.”

Energize Bedford is a community-based energy-efficiency program funded through Department of Energy and New York State Energy Research and Development Authority grants.

Several months ago, when Mark Thielking — now the chairman of Energize Bedford — first approached us with information about the program, we expressed interest, as Katonah homeowners, in learning more.

The program’s primary goal, Mr. Thielking said, is to dramatically increase home energy efficiency upgrades with homeowners throughout the community.

We liked what we heard — the low-interest loans, the reduced-cost energy audits provided by local contractors, the potential energy savings at our homes, savings rebates from New York State of up to 10 percent on all work, the ability to make a difference for our environment — and a warmer house in summer and a cooler home in winter.

We liked it so much that we signed up. Shortly after we filled out the paperwork — be prepared to know how many kilowatt hours you used a year ago, among other information — we began the process with an energy audit.

In the half-day audit, conducted by one of the many local companies recommended by Energize Bedford, the technician tested air leakage, conducted thermal imaging to detect plumbing leaks and unsafe electrical connections, an analysis of the thermal envelope, along with recommendations and proposals for our home.

The subsequent report analyzed our home appliance usage, windows and doors, singling out for improvement duct leakage, air leakage, inadequate insulation levels and improperly vented appliances.

The good news was that our boiler efficiency is 86 percent. Overall, our energy distribution was 90 percent. But we were losing more than half the efficiency of our heating and cooling systems through drafts and inadequate insulation. The audit recommended attic insulation, garage ceiling and cathedral ceiling upgrades and air sealing to reduce drafts. Even relatively simple upgrades such as energy-efficient drapes would be effective in making our home more efficient. Overall, it is expected that the loan will pay off in savings within 3.8 years, with a savings to investment ratio of 5.8 — which, we are told, is extraordinary.

After shopping for lenders who participate in the program, a process also assisted by Energize Bedford and NYSERDA, we prepared a loan application.

So far we haven’t put out a dime, and we consider the information we’ve received to be invaluable. We’re now waiting for the i’s to be dotted and t’s crossed before scheduling work; we hope to have it complete before this fall’s heating bills start arriving.

Bedford’s forward-thinking, enthusiastic and knowledgeable staff members and volunteers, along with key regional and energy partnerships, are paying off at the grass-roots level.

The results, we hope, will be good for all residents and in some small way, for our planet.

Visit for more information on this important program.

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Pound Ridge/Scotts Corners

  1. Scotts Corner Market – Trinity Corners Shopping Center;  55 Westchester Avenue

  2. Pound Ridge Sunoco — 66 Westchester Avenue    

  3. Sam Parker Country Market — 257 Westchester Avenue    

Bedford Village

  1. Bedford Rexall Pharmacy — Hunting Ridge Mall; 424 Old Post Road  

  2. Village Green Deli — Village Green; Routes 22 and 172    

  3. Bedford Shell — Routes 22 and 172 (at blinking light); 848 So. Bedford Road

  4. Village Service Center —193 Pound Ridge Road (at Long Ridge Road intersection)    

Bedford Hills

  1. Bedford Hills Deli – 7 Babbitt Road    

  2. Bueti’s Deli – 526 Bedford Road (Route 117)


  1. NoKA Joe’s – 25 Katonah Avenue    

  2. Steger’s Paper Mill – 89 Katonah Avenue    

  3. Perks – 197 Katonah Avenue    

  4. Katonah Pharmacy – Katonah Shopping Center; 294 Katonah Avenue   

  5. Bagel Shoppe – Katonah Shopping Center; 280 Katonah Avenue    

  6. Katonah Sunoco – 105 Bedford Road

Mount Kisco

  1. Teamo/Mt. Kisco News – 239 Main Street    

  2. Connie’s at Northern Westchester Hospital
    400 E. Main Street    

South Salem/Vista

  1. JNR Pharmacy – 222 Oakridge Commons;
    Route 123   

Cross River

  1. Bagel Boys Café – Cross River Shopping Center; Routes 121 and 35    

  2. Cross River Shell Station – Route 35    

  3. Cameron’s Deli –  890 Route 35    

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